George Washington University professor Mark Lynch has an insightful piece comparing Jay-Z’s power in the rap world to the U.S.’s power in the world:
As Jay-Z got older and more powerful, the marginal benefits of such battles declined and the costs increased even as the number of would-be rivals escalated. Just as the U.S. attracts resentment and rhetorical anti-Americanism simply by virtue of being on top, so did Jay-Z attract a disproportionate number of attackers. “I got beefs with like a hundred children” he bragged/complained on one track.
NPR picked up the story as well. “Rapper Feud Mirrors World Politics” is worth a listen.